Sunday, 23 March 2008

Grace like the ocean

We are currently on a family holiday in Cornwall just North of Bude. Yesterday we took a half mile trip to Northcott Mouth which is just down from the farmhouse that we are staying in.

The beach there is very rocky and my nieces and nephews and I started to build a small wall against the sea gathering the rocks from near and far!

It was hilarious to see some of them carrying large rocks to add to the wall, some too heavy for them to lift! The tide was coming in quickly and no matter how large the stones it didn't stop the sea coming and it reminded me of God's grace upon us - it doesn't end, it doesn't reach a certain point and say that it would cease and that it would come to the point where it would just fail. No way! Legalism can try and stop God's grace - it can stifle and try to stop it but in the grand scheme of things - legalism is as effective as the stone wall my nieces and nephews built against the ocean against God's lavish grace!! Struggling with what I mean......? Let me put it another way then:- Whether or not folks receive it or live in the fullness of it - it just keeps coming! We are saved by grace and if folks are under legalism they are still saved by grace alone - Scripture says that any that call on the name of the Lord WILL BE saved. It doesn't say any that call on the name of the Lord may be saved but it is all dependent on whether they do this or this or this! Even in all the legalism that is rife in the Church and in the people of God today the Lord is still a God of grace - a grace that allows us to be imperfect, a grace that covers all our shame, our sin, our mistakes - past, present and future. God's grace is an undeniable part of being saved!

I am currently reading God's lavish grace by Terry Virgo and I read this earlier today:-

You may wonder what you have done to deserve God's love. How is it that God has shown you such kindness? This is the very stuff of grace, that He amazes you, contradicts every expectation, seeks you out, finds you and lavishes His love upon you. You have done nothing and can do nothing to earn His grace. The secret of His grace to you lies deep in the mystery of His foreknowledge. Simply receive it, celebrate it, delight yourself in it and live as one whom God is pleased to favour from His overflowing resources of kindness. (Page 87).

I have been struck afresh today of the magnitude of God's grace - people don't understand grace because we try and equate it - we try to work it out - we try to make it make sense but it doesn't - the awesome One, the Creator of this Universe has a love that stoops down, stoops to the sinner and lavishes, floods the undeserving with acceptance, with love, covers the sinner with robes of righteousness, spotless and no matter the mistakes in the future will remain spotless - not because of the sinner but because the Lamb of God was acceptable, because the blood of Jesus goes on cleansing and the blood of Jesus will never loose its power - Jesus was a complete sacrifice - He satisfied the requirements, we are saved because of that one sacrifice.

This morning we went to Bude Christian Fellowship and it was an awesome time of celebrating that Jesus is reason and alive right now! The pastor mentioned Spike Milligan's quote on his grave stone that says:-

"I told you I was ill."

and then later in the message was saying that if there was an inscription on Jesus' grave it should have said

"I told you that I was coming back."

It was a great celebration this morning and I bless God for what He has done and am anticipating and expecting some wonderful things in the future days! J.I. Packer once said that

"The victim of Calvary is now...............loose and a large!"

Yes indeed He is loose, at large and will do some mighty things in the coming days - feel expectation rising!?!?

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Standing firm on the truth in the battle

Since late Sunday night - there has been a battle! The weekend was glorious but I have found myself increasingly under 'enemy fire' - I was telling my husband this morning that I think that the enemy wants to knock me back down again.

But I have remembered something from an awesome sermon that Peter Day preached on Sunday night - I would really encourage folks to listen to this! It is available from the following link for the 16th March and entitled 'Perseverance' - you will find it really helpful I am sure! Anyway! The thing that I remembered is when he said something along the lines of

'don't let disappointment and the battle rob you of what you do know to be true.'

In other words when the going gets tough and the enemy comes in like a flood don't forget what you know to be true, what the Lord says in His Word, who He is like, what He has done.

Was reminded this morning in the face of the pelting to remind myself that He hasn't altered - He is the same God who came and touched my heart and melted me with His love over this weekend, He is the same God who reigns on high, who is exalted, who is King of Kings, totally majestic, awesome in power and mighty to save and to the pulling down of strongholds - He is the same God who is singing over me on a week day as He was over the weekend, He is the creator, sustainer and saviour of this World. He alone has made the way for me to be cleansed, healed, restored and forgiven - He is good and He is faithful and that will not alter or change - and right now I choose to stand firm in the battle on the truth!

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Our response to God singing over us!

This morning Ken Vincent preached at Lansdowne - the sermon should be on the website fairly soon. There was a gem of a revelation scattered amongst other various gems and it was this!

In light of the last line of Zephaniah 3:17 which says:-

"He will rejoice over you with singing"
Ken said this:-
"If God is singing over you, shouldn't you be singing over Him?"
He went on to say about how our God is a happy God - it is worth hearing what Ken said - I can't do it justice!

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Desperation for God - noone else will satisfy!

First thing this morning I was praying in the shower knowing that I was going to a women's breakfast that was going to be on the Holy Spirit, my prayer was really a cry to God that I would encounter Him afresh - I guess that you could say a desperation that I needed to know that God knew various situations, struggles, that He would meet me despite all the things that get in the way, despite how I felt, despite despair, despite my feeling of total inadequacy (in want of a better word) - I really NEEDED to meet with God today.

It wasn't the best of starts to a meeting with all the women there around 30 years older than me and I texted my husband saying please pray! Fortunately others arrived and my ill-ease put to flight! The teaching was just so helpful about being women of the Spirit and I realised afresh how vital it is that I am full of God's Holy Spirit - not only for my own walk with God, but my encouragement of others, my heart for the worship.......giftings from God.........etc etc - I could go on. I guess that you could say I could see that I wasn't filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit - more nearer the red E like the one that shows on your petrol dial! I have been more concerned with managing to scrape through, to be everything that I am 'supposed' to be and to do everything I am supposed to do that I hadn't actually realised how I was running on empty!

But you know God already knew - and He knew that I need a major encounter with Him - all the 'stuff' of life, all the heartache, all the struggles, all the daily battles, temptations, even at times depression and heaviness seemed to have squeezed out how much I needed God! It wasn't 'fine' for me to leave the Church this morning without an enounter with God, without pressing through to Him - it really wasn't fine - but I had to step out of my comfort zone and actually admit that I needed prayer and I have to tell you that this morning I had to learn a difficult, painful (for me) but yet vital lesson - it's ok to ask for prayer. My gut instinct is to always assume that asking someone to pray is like saying 'hey I am not doing so good, I have failed again, not coping, not this, not that, I don't meet the grade blah blah blah blah, here I am yet again.' But this morning someone said to me it would be ok if I asked for prayer every single meeting, every single week or whenever and having thought about that today although it goes against everything that I have been taught as a child and even seen in the Christian world - I realised today how much my priorities need to change - hear me out for a second! It shouldn't be about what others think, it shouldn't even be about me - it's about God, about His precious Holy Spirit - I want Him to get all the glory! I need to put encountering Him far above all the stuff of this World. And as we have often heard that quote:-

"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied with Him."

But here is a question - are we ever really satisfied with Him!? This morning I tasted precious fresh filling of the Holy Spirit, He just washed right over me, through me - all the struggles, even the heartache was pailed into insignifcance for an hour or so when I was just caught up with loving Him and being loved by Him. Ah yes I was totally satisfied with Him, but not to the point of 'having my fill' do you know what I mean? Spurgeon uses the word 'cloy' in relation to the love of God - a love that will not cloy.

The definition of cloy is this:-

To cause distaste or disgust by supplying with too much of something originally pleasant, especially something rich or sweet;

We will never get to the point where something so wonderful will end up being distasteful when it comes to God, it won't be like when you eat too much chocolate - initially fantastic but eat too much and you feel sick - no with God you will taste and keep tasting and keep desiring and want more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and .............................(catch my drift!)

The song of the moment, of the day - has to be this song!

I wonder if we really are that desperate for Him - I know that for me this evening having met with Him today I am desperate for Him all over again! I want to be like those folks in the Bible who had the tenacity and the courage and the perseveance to keep going for Him - to not let Him go until He blesses (sound familiar) to be like the woman with the issue of blood who in that society should not have been around, classed as untouchable and yet she pushed through the crowds just to touch the hem of His garment, for all those saints that have in years passed kept on keeping on - I want to take encouragement and to keep pushing through, to hold Him at His Word, to see Him touch my life and the lives of those around me, to not cower under the weight of past disappointment or be crushed by ungodly expectations that others put on me (or even that I put on myself) -

I have tasted again of how wonderful the Lord is - I want Him, I need Him, I long for Him, I desire to be in His presence, I yearn for Him with every fibre of my being, I cry out for Him - no other will do, no one else will satisfy, this World can offer me nothing in the light of how awesome He is. All that is within me cries out 'more Lord' more of You in my life, more of You in my home, in my street, in Your Church Lord, more - oh Lord for an increase in my expectation of what You will do for You alone are the All-mighty God, the all powerful King of the Universe, no one else is as majestic as You are - nothing is as glorious as You - increase my vision of you! The cry of my heart hand in hand with the desperation for Him is a simple word and that is knowing that He is a God who is swift to bless the seeker, who loves the hungry, who delights in those who seek after Himself - ah yes Lord please...


Thursday, 13 March 2008

More aware of grace or sin?

I have been doing a lot of reading lately on grace - am reading God's Lavish Grace by Terry Virgo and finding it a really helpful read although I must confess that I keep on reading bits again and again trying to get them from my head to my heart.

Was challenged also by CJ Mahaney when he asks the poignant question - day to day are you more aware of grace or more aware of sin!?

This is a challenge when your background is rooted in rules and regulations! I pray that each day I would be more and more aware of the grace of God!

Well I think I may have worked out how to get a You tube video into a post - so here goes! This song is one to play when the tears won't stay in any longer!

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Highs and Lows of one single solitary day!

Today has been a day of highs and lows. Sundays are precious, busy, stressful and yet wonderful in so many ways! Most will know what I mean by that - but today has been one of truly awesome highs, moments of stress, times of exhaustion, precious times with God and then real depths - all in one single day!
As I start this it is nearly 11.30pm - for a 'school night' this is so late for me but I can't sleep and have spent the last few hours crying (yet again!) So what about today then?

This morning was a precious time of worship - it started in the Word this morning when I was in Kings and reading about the whole Hezekiah thing when the enemies were saying to the people of the Lord, that God wouldn't save them and that they were going to lose blah blah etc etc and then God did something outside of the 'human plan or concept of what could happen' and sent the angel of the Lord who killed like 185,000 people in one night or something like that (2 Kings 18 & 19) - I was struck again how God is not bound by what people say, think or expect. Then after my time in the Word I had a shower and I don't know if I am like anyone else but my most intimate times of worship in song are in the shower! This morning I sung the same song over and over normally I will jump from song to song as I praise but this morning it was the same song 'Jesus, Jesus, Holy and Anointed One' - the chorus goes on to say 'Your name is like honey on my lips, your Spirit like water to my soul.........' there was more than physical water this morning and I felt a precious touch from God as I worshipped! Then at Church before the praise team practised and as we prayed together again I felt such a touch from God, then as we went through the songs for the morning I just felt God was so close, then in the worship - WOW! The Holy Spirit came and there was such an outpouring - different folks prayed stuff out that was just SO spot on.

Then I was with the children so missed the sermon - it was really stressful!!!! Some of the children are just so out of control and I found it so hard because they are so lovely and each one so special, one in the group is the sort of age that our child would be if ..... well you know. Anyway it was REALLY tough going and come the end of the service I was just SO relieved but had to dash to check my hubby was ok with serving tea and then needed to sort music etc etc. To my relief I got in the car and turned on some sounds! Got home had lunch, watched some rugby - Malcolm had a headache so at half time went to bed and I watched the second half in bed as he slept - France won, then I fell asleep - woke at 6.20pm with a start and shoved on some clothes brushed hair and dashed to Church leaving a dazed hubby with headache in bed. I really wanted to be there tonight - felt this morning I missed out not hearing the Word preached. Tonight I was reminded in the worship of how mighty God is and that too often I don't seem Him as All-mighty and All-powerful - I need a bigger vision of God - was encouraged in the brief worship that I was there for, then the preached Word was awesome - Psalm 23 and just the single line 'The Lord is my shepherd'. The Lansdowne website should have it up soon if you want to hear it.
Anyway got in the car to come home dropping a couple of people at different places on the way home, got out of the car and spoke to a lovely couple from the street - they are moving soon so want to get them round for a meal before they go although they will only be moving locally I think - note to self remember to sort a date with them! I hardly know them and he recently had a stroke (reason for move) but it was a timely conversation. Walked in the door - got a headache and just felt real turmoil no peace at all - told Malcolm.
Headed to bed at 10.15ish. Mal and I prayed together and unusually I felt that I should pray again about having kids - I don't do this as often as perhaps I should because it upsets me so much and afterwards I just cried and cried - there are simply no words this evening to describe how much I hurt (pause to reach for another tissue........) Malcolm said that he thought I needed to cry - he sees it before I do now I think. I am not even sure how to pray anymore in some senses, all I know is that the ache is so real and I don't see any end to it. Last Wednesday I had a picture or a dream - whatever you might call it, eventually tonight I shared it with Malcolm I won't post here what it was as that isn't appropriate but I must admit things are hard. I tossed and turned in bed almost crying at every turn - trying not to wake my exhausted husband and eventually have given in and got up!

What changed today I wonder - it started precious, it had tough moments, it even ended precious but this evening I feel afresh despair and hurt; but yet God is still my shepherd - I am His and He is mine - I heard it today, I know it but at the same time there is an ache and a void that I carry at the same time. I even asked myself if it is possible to feel despair and yet trust God at the same time and honestly I have to answer 'yes' - does that sound crazy to all the theologians>!>?!?!? Don't get me wrong I trust God 100%, I love Him, I accept all the wonderful things that He says but at the same time there is an ache that doesn't know healing and a pain that few can grasp. The battle now is to take the tears and not ignore them but to pour them out as an offering as sacrifical worship - in the midst of the tears to look to God and say 'I love you anyway' and to hear His reply of 'I love you anyway' - it goes both ways as I was reminded by the preacher this evening.

There are questions rattling around my brain tonight and some of them I need to ask and find answers to, others I need to have courage to lay down and to leave at the foot of the cross. Perhaps the highs and lows of today have been from one extreme to the other but I must not forget that my God is mighty, that He (and only He) is the giver of life, that He is bigger than my pain and that He has stored my tears - which feel more like a river rather than something that can ever be bottled tonight.

I am reminded of that Tim Hughes song:-
(Not sure if this will work as I haven't worked out how to incorporate a You Tube into a post)

If it doesn't work go to youtube and search on Tim Hughes and click on 'when silence falls'

I must head to bed now as I have a full on day at work tomorrow but in returning to bed I will remember that the Lord God Almighty is my friend and on my side even in the depths of tonight. I will also ask Him to be my strength, my peace, my tower of refuge and strength but have to admit that it all still hurts!

Monday, 3 March 2008

Not about condition it's all about position in Christ

My husband and I are working through listening to a series of teaching that Rob Rufus gave on a website that we found, the web address is if you are interested and the sermons we are listening to are from December 1996.

Anyway tonight we listened to the second one and I have to say it was quite a revelation on a few things that he said - thought provoking and will make you ask questions; but as he explains if teaching makes you ask questions then that is a good sign as that is what the disciples did constantly with Jesus' teaching in the New Testament.

I think the thing that has really opened my eyes tonight is that I was born again into legalism, then I discovered grace and was liberated and now I am living with both grace and the law plastered all over my life - it is time to realise afresh that I am completely saved by grace - there is nothing I can add to my salvation (and nothing I can do to take it away either). Rob was so clear in his teaching and time and time again he states that we shouldn't be concentrating on our condition but on our position! Let me repeat that - we need to not concentrate on our condition (our sin, our rubbishness, our worthlessness), but on our position (we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ, precious to Him, heirs, dearly loved, we are adopted) our position is an awesome one that I don't seem to have the words for..........

Rob quoted Corrie Ten Boom and I had to write this down - Corrie said this
"If I look at the World I get depressed,
if I look at myself I am unimpressed,
if I look at Jesus I am so impressed."

For those of us who struggle with infertility issues there is a big emphasis from the World on our condition - to be childless is a constant reminder of a condition that we would not choose, want or imagine would ever happen to us. If we remain looking at that condition it drives us downward and depresses us - but get this people - if we look at our position - now that is a whole new thing - to look at what Jesus has done for us, that we are seated with Him, ransomed, restored, forgiven - now that should lift our heads!

I think I am going to write the words 'position not condition' on my front door so that when I leave the house every morning I will see them. I may remain childless which is just SO SO SO hard but my life is hidden in Christ...............

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Faith In Fertility: Book review: "It's OK to cry"

Faith In Fertility: Book review: "It's OK to cry"

It's OK to Cry

Well this is the blog that perhaps those of you that have been to and found that the blog page is empty have been waiting for! Interesting that I hardly slept last night thinking about lots so was up so early this morning and thought of this whole blogging thing! I hope that I will get used to it and discover how to link to others blogs - for any guys out there struggling with infertility I do recommend where Jon blogs about his infertility.

I've been thinking about it being ok to cry again - everything in me wants to hold tears back and not let people in, even my husband - my main man! Last night when I was going to bed it cracked - I hate Mother's Day so much - society and people in general don't realise what a painful day that is for so many - hundreds and thousands in the UK are probably feeling the same way as me. I have to admit last night I desperately tried to hold back the tears but I couldn't stop them - they just kept coming, yet again I heard my husband saying those words 'just let it out, you are allowed to cry' - I keep wondering if I should let him record that phrase so that he doesn't have to keep saying it to me - Ha! Ha!
In the midst of our pain we still acknowledge that our Mum's are great, still send them a card, still know that the family does special things for them - but it's a day that I wish I didn't have hear about, see on the news, anything in fact - today is a day that I would rather just shut the World out, ignore and let my ache not feel quite so intense. Everything is risky on a day like today - it doesn't take much for tears to flow, I was speaking to someone yesterday who said that their Church devote the entire service to 'appreciating Mum's' and I wondered how some who find this such a painful day handle it. I wonder if the Church in the UK generally don't realise that some 'special services' can be that upsetting - I am not just talking about those of us who live with the pain of infertility, or those that have lost a child or children even, but also those who have lost their Mum.

Perhaps folks don't see how painful it can be but I am struck again this morning of the example of Jesus - the depth of His compassion. In Luke 7v 11-17 we see a glimmer of the depth of that compassion - a widow who has lost her only son - the NKJV says that 'His heart went out to her,' the NLT says 'His heart overflowed with compassion, The Message says 'His heart broke,' now this is compassion - this is not just saying 'oh poor woman' and then carrying on regardless of her situation. NO! This is Him seeing and feeling her pain, her loss, her desperation, her whole situation. I wish I saw more compassion, I wish that I felt a greater compassion for the hurting and for the lost. Goodness when I think of the compassion that we should have for those who don't know Jesus - my journey has been hard with Him, but without Him it would have been intolerably worse!
............oh for a greater heart of compassion, even on a day like today!

Saturday, 1 March 2008

The first of many

OK ok ok...... after years of people telling me that I should blog here it is! In the last month several people have e-mailed me saying please start blogging and telling me to get started!

My blog is called 'From Head To Heart' reason being that I was brought up with loads of solid teaching and my head knowledge was all good....... now I am learning more and more that all that head knowledge needs to get into my heart - let God melt my heart afresh with His grace.

I am one of these people who likes to get things sorted in my head and I like to know what I need to do if you know what I mean - am in the process of learning that actually God's grace in some senses just doesn't make sense! I mean think about it for a moment - we mere humans deserve absolutely NOTHING, we are in fact only deserving of eternal damnation - but the King of Kings, the Creator, sustainer and ruler of the Universe loved us so much and saw what we deserved, so He made a way for us to be forgiven, restored and able to have a relationship with Him - yep you read right - the One who reigns on high, the totally awesome God has actually made it possible not only for us to be saved but to have a relationship with Him! WOW!
As far as the need to know what to do - only last week my pastor reminded me that there is in fact absolutely nothing that I can do to alter, add to or anything to God's grace - I just need to receive it! Now try getting your head round that!

Anyway this is my first post and if I remember or really work this out - there may be more!